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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 280-283

Appropriateness of ophthalmic cases presenting to a Nigerian tertiary health facility: Implications for service delivery in a developing country

1 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
2 Department of Surgery, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
A O Mahmoud
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20857785

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Objective: To assess whether the ophthalmic cases presenting at a Nigerian tertiary eye unit are appropriate for such level of care and also draw necessary implications for service delivery. Methods: Data on 1,321 consecutive new patients that presented at the ophthalmic clinic of the University of Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria between February and July 2005 were reviewed on demographics, referral routes, and reasons for patronage, diagnoses and disease categories. Information on the general situation of health infrastructures prevailing at the surrounding health facilities was collected from key-informants. Results: One thousand and ninety-one (82.6%) presented without any referral and 1,095 (82.9%) patronized in order to access perceived good quality of eye care service being rendered. However, only a small proportion of their ailments (191, 14.5%) actually required attention at the tertiary level of eye care. The key informants painted a picture of severely-challenged general and health infrastructures particularly at the primary health care facility level. Conclusion: An overwhelming majority of ophthalmic patients directly accessed eye care at the tertiary level, even though most of their ailments could have been satisfactorily treated at the lower facilities of health care were the latter to be functioning optimally. A better coordinated and strengthened health care system, particularly at the primary and secondary health care facilities would ease the burden of inappropriate presentations on tertiary health facilities in Nigeria.

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